Arsenal: A solution for every possible striker situation this summer

Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images)
Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Photo by Harriet Lander/Copa/Getty Images) /
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Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette
Arsenal, Alexandre Lacazette (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images) /

Lacazette goes, Aubameyang and Nketiah stay

With Lacazette in fine form of late, and Juventus reportedly interested, now might be the best time to cash in on our hot-and-cold Frenchman. Lacazette is one of a number of players understood to be on offer in order to raise funds for Arsenal’s summer spending.

With his contract talks stalling, and an even heftier wage going to Aubameyang, if the Gabon international has his way, there might not be room for Lacazette at the club, especially as Arsenal needs greater goal production from him, something he has not been able to accomplish while at the club. So sell Laca it is.

However, Aubameyang will either be out of contract in a year’s time, or signed up until he’s 34. Either way, he will leave Arsenal not at peak power, and we need to find a replacement for Lacazette to fill in the gaps.

Again, it’s a hefty ask. Somebody good with his back to goal, strong and resilient, who can fight and scrap and draw fouls, and both score and assist. That type of player doesn’t come without a price. More than that, we need consistency. And as sorry as I am to say, Odsonne Edouard is not that man. The Frenchman is good, but we need the best.

Kai Havertz would be the dream, but that’s a near-impossible ask. The purchase of a new striker will have to come with the money garnered from the sale of Lacazette, which won’t be enough for a player touted to win the Ballon d’Or sometime in the not-so-distant future. Furthermore, with the bidding war currently surrounding him—6 clubs are reported to be interested, all with deeper pockets than the Gunners—the fee for him will be astronomical.

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The first prospect I have in mind is one Danny Ings, currently plying his trade at Southampton. Although he is an out-and-out striker, he possesses a very similar skillset to Lacazette, with a couple of added bonuses. He’s almost three years younger—the same age as Thomas Partey—and he’s much quicker off the mark than the Frenchman, and his positioning is just as lethal.

Furthermore, he’s got a good track record in the Premier League with Southampton, after a failed spell with Liverpool. He’s a willing defender, and an excellent holdup player—his passing in tight spaces has proven key to Southampton’s attacking success this season, not to mention his team-leading 21 goals, currently one above Auba’s league total. Ings and Aubameyang as a combination up top would be entirely lethal, and the Englishman will be able to cover for Auba as he ages.

Signed from Liverpool for £20 million, he would likely cost around £35 million at the most, which, for a striker of his quality would be a steal, and free up funds for more work on the midfield and defense. It’s a good deal all around.

Signing Ings would make space for Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli on the left, a delicious prospect that would allow Arsenal to make the most out of two young talents currently competing for substitute chances and utility player roles. The only concern with Ings would be too much competition with Lacazette, not to mention Nketiah, for the same number 9 role.

The second prospect also hails from the Premier League, although from the West, not the South Coast. Dominic Calvert-Lewin of Everton is the ultimate Alexandre Lacazette replacement, because he does everything the Frenchman can do, and some things better.

Calvert-Lewin, like Lacazette, is the complete package at striker. Adept at dropping deep and linking up play when need be, a fantastic holdup player and a proven goalscorer—13 tallies on the season—he matches six feet of strength, power, and skill with his back to goal, with a wicked sense of positioning and quite a burst of pace.

Skilled with a strike partner or as the lead man of a front three, Calvert-Lewin has formed a partnership with Richarlison not unlike Aubameyang and Lacazette. Under Carlo Ancelloti, the Englishman has been nothing short of brilliant, finding a rich vein of form before and after the restart. Unlike the Frenchman, however, Calvert-Lewin doesn’t have the crippling confidence monster waiting to pounce. Even in Everton’s worst games, he is constantly running, harrying, and working to regain the ball and move up the field. Bad body language doesn’t seem to be in his nature.

His instinctive finishing and incisive runs are pure Aubameyang, but his playing style is all Lacazette. Twisting, turning, and wriggling on the ball, he uses his strength to make space to distribute wide, or recycle play towards the center. He’s also an amazing header of the ball, and would make a perfect target for players like Kieran Tierney. And at only 23, he could be our talisman for a number of years to come.

Plying him away from Everton would be difficult, and would likely require a fee of £35-40 million at least, but that’s also they type of fee we can demand for a player of Lacazette’s quality and output, especially if Juventus come calling. His contract with Everton expires in 2025, but that shouldn’t be too much of an obstacle. He’ll also likely demand lower wages than Lacazette, and with our budget stretched as it is, every penny counts.

Now onto the dream, the best case scenario for all involved.